Tuesday, January 31, 2012

an artist's waking hours

Ah, what words of wit and wisdom will pour out tonight?
 In Multiplicity, Michael Keaton stars as Doug Kinney, a man short on time and with too much to do, who clones himself in order to have more time to himself. It didn't work very well as each clone seems to possess only a fraction of what Doug is and so still isn't really present. For a variety of reasons, it's been impossible to have time in the studio, which equals lack of time to myself. Cloning looks mighty attractive, but then I know I would just be a fractured person. Unable to be present in any one moment and unable to respond as needed in any given situation. In short, better to be whole even if the situation sucks.

I've been in the car all day, but I made my way to the easel. There is a journal page waiting and knitting to do for about as long as I can keep my eyes open.

Not exactly a complete loss.
A simple sweater in the making.

Sometimes, there's something to be said for just
plain ol' garter stitch.

Painting progress.

A little closer, my dear.

Perhaps not so close.

Monday, January 30, 2012

day 30 of the new year . . .

and I still can't seem to get into the studio. Let's take a look back on the day, shall we?

4:00 am ~ Hear roosters crowing at ungodly hour. Futile attempts to get back to sleep.

5:30 am ~ Sleep eluded. Arise to rouse first youth for shower. Sit in meditation for 10 minutes.

6:00 am ~ Rouse second and then third youths for morning ablutions. Make tea in a travel mug. Draw Tarot card for the day. (Whoopee, it's the Guardian of Earth, aka Queen of Pentacles, which can't be bad.) Check e-mail.

6:45 am ~ Start the van for a decent warm-up. Continue rousing youths into movement. 'Zombie-like' barely describes their progress at this time.

7:00 am ~ Out the door. Much jostling for the shotgun seat. I usually win anyway. Race down to meet the bus.

7:15 am ~ Bus finally arrives. Two youths off to school. Ride with licensed third youth to local community college approximately a little more than a half hour away.

7:50 am ~ Arrive at local community college. Drop off youth. Return home because things need doing at home and the licensed youth doesn't have his own vehicle yet. Enjoy 45 minutes of solitude and listening to podcasts.

8:45 am ~ Home long enough to take care of what wasn't taken care of earlier. Paperwork. Breaking up rooster skirmishes. Herding cats. Full conversations with the dogs.

10:30 am ~ On the road again to retrieve college youth from campus. Dirk came for the ride. Football and Republican radio listening alternately depending on AM reception along the way. By the time we reach campus, head is swimming with pigskin stories and political rhetoric.

Noon ~ Youth dropped home. Ride out to father-in-law's to help with laundry and shopping. Spend time over cup of coffee (which I really didn't need as I'm sufficiently on edge without the caffiene) and conversed until . . .

2:15 pm ~ running back to the bus stop to meet our two youths, joined by someone else's youth, for the ride back up the hill. More e-mailing and paperwork, phone calls with a dash of faxing.

3:30 pm ~ Leave again to actually test drive a car I think I might be interested in. Didn't test drive it last Thursday because I wasn't keen on dealing with the weather and the heavy traffic.

4:30 pm ~ Arrive at the sales lot to find a fine empty spot where the car of interest was parked when I left it last Thursday. Inquire within to find out it sold over the weekend which surprised Dirk as it had been sitting there over a month ago. Oh well.

4:45 pm ~ Leave lot with the idea of looking at other cars in the area. Fruitless endeavor. Good deals aren't lying about all over the place.

5:30 pm ~ Stop at Sonic for fattening comfort food.

6:00 pm ~ Arrive home to see raccoon leaving the chicken coop. Chickens unscathed (except for the roosters who fought earlier today ~ they both look like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky I through V and Robert DeNiro in Raging Bull). Eggs effectively absconded with. Rocks hurled in general direction of fleeing varmint with curses for good measure.

6:30 pm ~ Handle on-going argument between male youths about wireless issues, game/internet kicking and IP addresses. Request a cease and desist on the Blame Game and just figure out the problem. Without ME, thank you.

7:00 pm ~ Wash large pile of dishes. Feed the dogs. Write blog.

8:00 pm ~ Figure out how I can keep myself awake another hour or two to maintain some kind of decent sleep cycle and how I might make time in the studio tomorrow. Pull desperately at optimistic straws like Scarlet O'Hara while my Inner Artist responds in Rhett Butler fashion. Read Terry Pratchett and forget the day ever happened as I lose myself in Discworld.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

something new

Brown and blue waiting for new.
There. Several months to create, a mere half hour to disassemble. In this pile are some recent spinnings of browns and blues. This yarn will go to making this sweater, seamless and easy to modify. For instance, I'm deleting the rib pattern at the hem, cuffs and neckline. I plan to make this sweater a simple, rustic affair. Something one might wear while herding sheep if one had them. Something that might act as a fair substitute for a sweatshirt. Knitting without seams is an attractive option as fiddling over the finishing of any large knit project rather drives me bananas after awhile.

In the meantime, I've been playing with journal ideas on Photoshop. The inspiration comes from Kathryn Antyr and her Journey of the Heart Journal pages. Kathryn has been offering her collaged journal pages for about a year, I think, filled with inspiring words and bits of imagery. When I bump into something that interests me, I wonder how I could do the same thing with my own flavor. So, for the heck of it, I scanned a page of lined paper for photo manipulation and adding some digital images. I'm pleased with the results if only for my own use.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

sometimes I make mistakes

Literally. Sometime ago, I'd knitted up the Monk Coat, but, and this is crucial, I've never worn it except for that photo. An inaction that speaks volumes. If I'm not wearing something, it means it's not comfortable. As I've been in a sweater-ripping haze (thank you, Kim), I got to thinking maybe this piece is one of those things I ought to reclaim the fiber from.

I tried the coat on one more time, just to make sure, before committing to the Rip. Yes. It is uncomfortable. Here's why: I did not create arm holes. With less chunkier yarn, that might not be such a big deal. Another yarn with more drape than shape would probably have been perfectly fine for the boxy construction I created. However, this yarn is quite chunky so the armholes feel very constrictive ~ claustrophobic, in fact. Rather than let good chunky yarn go to waste on something I'm not going to wear (or inflict an unsuspecting someone with), better to rip it and make a more sensible sweater.

Well. Steampunk anyone?

Friday, January 27, 2012


Backside handle shot.
C'est finis! Now. Let's have tea!
The fun side.

Another backside handle shot.

The not-so-fun side.

Some sexy spout.

Swingin' it to the right.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

roots & rocks

A portal.
Sights from a long-over due walk . . .

The Tree of Persistence.

Persistence a little closer.

And again from the other side.

This tree's roots look like an elephant.

And a little closer, my dear.

These roots reach into a Vernal Pool.

A pool that never lost its green even when iced over.

Some people have house Brownies.
I get the occasional visit from our
House Rooster named Brownie.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

getting cozy

Vine added to the Kevin cozy.
Nothing monumental. Merely applique vine on the cozy. Then the knitted leaves will be added.

And in answer to a query from this post:

How is it that the yarn from the deconstructed sweater isn't all kinked? 

Once I located a continuously rip-able end, I unraveled the sweater using the yarn ball winder. Little to no kinkiness to be found. Most importantly, I have the perfect yarn for this project. As Fred Kwan says, it's the little things in life you treasure.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

the light bulb moment

It's been a couple of years since I've worked with Evolutionary Witchcraft in my personal studies. Without grabbing the book for precise verification, the exercise of sitting as a daily practice is mentioned early on. For a few months, I would tumble out of bed, stumble down stairs to a make shift altar in the sun room and sit. It was explained in Evo Wit that in doing this practice, one comes to understand the Self. And I didn't get it. First off, I always felt I had to stop thinking, but that couldn't be stopped because one of my many thoughts was, How the hell do I get to understand my Self when Monkey Mind is going on and on about the litter box, the dishes, the laundry, the e-mails that need tending, who's coming home when and shouldn't I be painting? Yes, this went on for a few months. Understanding let alone enlightenment seemed woefully elusive.

In that time between then and now, I've stopped meditating or tried something different (like, maybe I need to do mantras) or tried a different time to meditate (sitting before bed time worked really well). But I still didn't get it. Especially that bit about sitting long enough to see What Comes Up. Generally, all that ever came up was the chittering of Monkey Mind. Over time, I managed to let go of the cat herding activity of not to thinking by simply letting the thoughts go and returning my attention to breath. Sitting is simple, but not easy. I resigned myself to not understanding it, set aside Big Head Know It All and just sat.

Finally today, I got around to checking out Susan Piver's latest e-mail and vimeo about Meditation and the Path of Emotion. Funny thing. I finally got it.

And there's still dishes to do.

Monday, January 23, 2012

another busy weekend & then some

Tea cozy parts.
Kim came down for a visit. Saturday evening fiber processing and knitting at the dining table again. All after nephew Liam's birthday party.

More fiber stuff getting done Sunday while youths frolicked in the snow.

Today is no less busy which is why the Blog Juices are sort of coagulated this afternoon. There is a To Do List staring me down and the time is just eddying away.
One sweater de-constructed, one to go.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

there ain't nothing like a woman with a violin

Katie Jacoby (& friend) ~ photo Rick Edwards Photography
I have seen, live, the likes of Jimmy Page, the Edge, David Gilmour and Pete Townsend ~ all rock star guitar gods. (I haven't seen Dave Navarro live yet, but he injected some sex in the guitar on One Hot Minute with Red Hot Chili Peppers which makes that album still one of my favorites.) They all know how to sling an axe and rock it until the thing sizzles. That's not to say that Nancy Wilson doesn't do as well ~ she too is awesome in her ability to wail out the tunes. However, there is no poetry in motion as sweet as a woman with a violin.

Dirk and I went to the Falcon ready for some Zappa tunes with Ed Palermo Big Band, but got so much more. Wandering on to the stage during one set, amongst the brass, strings, keyboards and drums, electric violin strapped into place, was an ephemeral, lithe, elfin-faced woman animated to the core with Zappa. Katie Jacoby took the stage with presence and mastery of craft. Men and women in the audience were taken with her beauty and ability. The entire band was tight and played a wide variety of Zappa, much of which I am woefully unaware of and some of which had legal ramifications. I bought their CD, but am more inclined to investigate Frank Zappa's music itself as a result of last night's show.

We are indeed lucky to be only a half hour away from the Falcon, an awesome center of alternative music and good food. Got cool art on the walls too.

More on Katie Jacoby here and here.

Well. There's just no room here to write about tea cozies now, is there?

Friday, January 20, 2012

quick cozy thoughts

So long ago, it seems, I was knitting these. Since I made the long leafy thing and it was sitting around on the desk, I thought it would work with the Kevin gray. The vine will be sewed with invisible thread once I've finished the top and added the other leaves.

Kevin was indeed spun and plied by me. Fat chunky yarn.

Going to the Falcon tonight. Ed Palermo Big Band doing some Zappa maybe. If we're good.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

looks cozy aleady

I'm now knitting the hole for the handle. This wool belonged to a Shetland ram named Kevin. Kevin will be keeping my teapot warm. Kevin is probably the dearest name for a sheep I've ever heard in my life as my tea will be warm, if not piping hot, at each refill.

I love tea. Black teas in particular. The gentle Darjeeling. The smokey Lapsang Souchong. The bold and dangerous Assam. I don't drink it "properly" either. Honey and half-n-half are my favorite additions to a strong, heady cuppa. Then, it is the Nectar of the Gods and a very few demi-Gods who shall remain nameless.

So. Tea. Cozy. Put together, they are words that warm the cockles of the world's heart.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

messin' with the mohair & other woolly ruminations

Mohair at the ready.
The Book.

Two-hour delays at school generally mess me up for the day. Today was no exception. The College Kid had to be taxi-ed North before the other youths needed to catch the bus. I am eternally thankful for podcasts. They feed my road-weary soul.

Still rubbing sleep out of my eyes and bumping around in my studio, I thought it might be safe to undertake a few harmless fiber tasks. It started with balling up the spun and plied mohair I've no idea what to do with. Although, I'm envisioning, heavily, it being paired with something white. Maybe a sweater. Maybe not. No telling where these fiber-y visions meander.

Then I remembered Kim finding cool instructions on making one's own shoe laces with felted wool in Intertwined: The Art of Handspun Yarn, Modern Patterns and Creative Spinning. This book was gifted me by Ruth a long time ago, but I pulled it off the shelf on New Years Eve when we were deep in fiber frenzy. Having plied some of the wool prepared from that night with some ribbon yarn, I figured I'd finish the job. The skein is presently felting in my washer as I write.

Because I'd really like to make this hat, I'm going to Frankenstein two outdated sweaters. They're 100% wool, but ugly. A perfect recipe for frogging. Hopefully, the unraveled stuff will give me the gauge I need to make the hat. I could really use something Terry Pratchett inspired in my life right now. Reality's gravitational pull has been a challenge.

Bound Skein.
Finally, I'm on a search for a tea cozy pattern. I've only made one in my life and that went to my mother. The new Brown Betty needs a cozy of distinction. Well, at least one made my me is good enough. I'll initiate the search in my printed files first. Going to Knitting Pattern Central means sending in a posse before nightfall. Not that I'd mind getting lost in that site awhile, of course.

Ugly sweaters.
Ah! Ze Brown Betty!

Monday, January 16, 2012

sometimes I feel like I'm painting crap

Before I eddy down that trickle of despairing diatribe ~

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Better words found here and here. I'm not much of an activist, being somewhat selfish and self absorbed, but I am glad of the people who are. They do the work I wouldn't even think about.

Now. Where was I? Ah, yes. Sometimes I feel like I'm painting crap. I feel Georgia O'Keeffe scoffing at me from the wall. Picasso sniggering cruelly deep in the recesses of my mind. Sitting in the corner is Frida Kahlo ~ who drags a cigarette, indifferent and cool, while flipping through an old National Geographic, an open bottle of Tequila on the table . I'm not getting help from any one of them today. So I'm painting, my time punctuated by laundry. Punctuated by roast beef sandwiches. Punctuated by checking the e-mail incessantly. Punctuated by thoughts about the past. Punctuated by sadness, turning to anger. Punctuated by punctuation.

In short, it's just one of Those Days. The kind of day that hangs an Artist out to dry. I guess the best remedy for any of it is to simply paint. Even if it's crap. Today, painting needs to be a verb and not a noun.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

so . . . what is in a name?

I've just this morning, bumped into Domythic Bliss via Theodora Goss. Today's post features House Naming, something I've wanted to do for our home since before we were building it. After reading through the blog and its links, I'm very keen on creating the perfect plaque with the perfect name for our home.

Those who know me have always commented on how I can take a hovel and make it a Home. I've lived in a great many places and each temporary abode had its challenges, but I have a knack for working around and with them to give my family a comfortable and safe environment. What is important to me is reflecting the creativity each person has in our family ~ artistic, innovative, unique ~ and including it in our surroundings. Then, I hope, everyone can feel at Home.

A very long time ago, while we were renting somewhere else and building, a much-younger Tom once said he couldn't wait until we could be in our peaceful house on the mountain. I could glean words from our geographical locale, Mountain View, Over-the-Dam House, Woods End, but I think Peaceful House has a pleasant sound to it. It sounds like something out of Winnie the Pooh.

Now. To make the plaque . . . No. I will not knit it.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Garlic honey and Rosemary honey.
I get Susun Weed's newsletters in my e-mail a few times during the month. A couple I held on to in the Inbox had to do with making Herbal Honeys because, well, I wanted to make some, by golly. Easy directions (and any cautionary statements) can be found here. Of course, being that the instructions are EASY, I flaked and spent time peeling my garlic cloves before submersing them with honey. Oh well. I imagine it'll still work fine. As for the rosemary honey, I cultivated what I felt comfortable cutting from my indoor plant and then stripped the stems of the leaves. Cat and dog hair may very well be infusing along with the leaves though I did my best to pick it all clean. It's best not to rinse herbs, so there you have it.

In the meantime, I'm trying to spend time in the studio without cleaning it (or anything else in the house, for that matter). It's amazing how one will get in one's way of doing something worthy. Is it right I find myself more interested in herding the Dust Bunnies than painting? Is there some intricate flaw in my being that allows me to get derailed so easily? In short, what am I afraid of? The Hausfrau Police?

Friday, January 13, 2012

how to do an Elemental/Medicine Wheel reading w/ SoulCollage®

The following photos demonstrate how I lay out SoulCollage® images for an Elemental/Medicine Wheel reading based on the query: Which Neters help me with my Art?

First, I "shuffle" my deck by cutting it into several
small piles. Then . . .
There are many, many resources defining the energies of the Elements and directions of the Medicine Wheel. I have found Air/East to represent the mind, ideas, thoughts, early morning. While Fire/South might represent passion, spark, will and noon time. Dreams, emotions and evening tide define the energies of Water/West. Earth/North is best defined by the energies of solidity, the body, manifestation, silence and midnight. Finally, Spirit/Center could represent You In This Moment, axis mundi, All Space and All Time and has a relationship with each of the Elements/Directions in the layout. Some readings might feel like they need Spirit/Center and some feel like they don't. Let your intuition guide you in these instances. Above all, enjoy the reading and let your images characters speak to each other. One may offer the other insight based on their position on the wheel.
I re-stack my deck. The deck will be cut into four piles,
starting at the top, holding the query and the essence of
Air or the East in mind as I cut. I let my fingers find a
niche along the side of my deck to determine each cut.

Here is the first pile representing Air/East. I cut this pile
again to determine the card that best represents the
Element/Direction at this moment.

Returning to the original pile, the deck is cut again for
Fire/South. Again cutting the small pile to determine
the card.

And here is the pile and cut for Water/West.

Yet again for Earth/North.

The entire deck has been cut into four piles and cut again
to find the card for each quarter. Starting from the right and
moving clockwise, we have Air/East, Fire/South,
Water/West and Earth/North.

I have now laid out the top cards from each
Elemental/Directional pile and re-stacked the deck
so I can . . .

cut the deck one last time to determine Spirit/Center.

The completed layout.

Air/East, the Moon Hut ~ I smile and
act pleasant though I'm not all
together. No one notices my missing
parts, so I nurture myself. Boy With
the Deer Head speaks to me of
gentleness. Go into the moon hut,
he says, and be gentle to your mind.
Think kind and good thoughts of
yourself. Girl With Leaves says,
Seek wonder in the moon hut.
Seek to find all your parts.

Fire/South, Pikea Whalerider ~
Oh, I sing to them! I sing with beauty
and passion! I sing to know what
they know. They hold the songs of
this planet, this place. They sing to
the Universe of our own special
tune. Camp fire on the beach by
the ocean warms the human souls
who sing to Whale.

Water/West, Eleni ~ We've come to the Atlantic Ocean to
bask, to play. Nights in Provincetown, days at Wellfleet.
Remember these easy times, to go with the flow, to let
Creativity eddy in to deep crevices. Memory is contained in
the Heart like water in a cup. Sometimes memories need
to be poured out to make room for new ones. Though no
memory is ever forgotten.

Earth/North, Over the Fence ~ What is there to see over
this fence I've made? I've been here all safe with
Society's rules and expectations. What is on the other side?
Curvaceous beauty and Life! Unabashed nakedness and
exposure ~ a mark of someone who is proud and unafraid
to show themselves to the world. The Holy Man has nothing
for me. The Beast that follows has more allure.
Spirit/Center, The Yogini ~ Oh they
practice asanas so beautifully!
Bird-headed women so lithe and
limber! I am left here with my
middle-aged, three-children-born
body to remember that My Temple is
unique to me. My Temple does yoga
differently. My Temple, my body
requires devotionals unique to me.
Bird-headed women look pretty in
 their forms, but lack the substance
of One Who is Authentic in One's
Own Body Temple.